Fourteen-year-old boy pleads not guilty over homemade bombs plot

A 14-year-old boy from Hampshire has appeared in court accused of trying to make bombs and plotting a terror attack.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is said to have developed an extremist jihadist mindset within the past month after converting to Islam earlier this year.

He is accused of making devices by combining explosive substances or bleach with tinfoil and screws, as well as recording a video stating that he wished to become a martyr.

At 14, he is one of the youngest people in the UK to have been charged with terrorism offences.

He appeared in the dock at Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday wearing a grey tracksuit and a face mask, accompanied by his mother, who sat in front of him.

He spoke to confirm his name, date of birth and age, and pleaded not guilty to the single charge of preparation of terrorist acts contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 in connection with Islamist terrorism.

His mother cried as he was remanded in youth detention by chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, ahead of a preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey on Monday.

Prior to his court appearance, Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) revealed that the teenager had been arrested by police officers from Hampshire Constabulary last Friday – and later further arrested by counter-terrorism detectives under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act.

CTPSE said on Wednesday: “We know that the community of Eastleigh might be concerned about this news, however Hampshire Constabulary have been working closely with colleagues in CTPSE on this investigation and we want to reassure you that we believe the investigation is isolated, and with no known wider risk to the community.”

Eastleigh MP Paul Holmes also tweeted: “I was briefed on this issue this afternoon and thank the police for their informative release.

“As they’ve said they believe this to be an isolated incident and speculation on social media is not helpful. Thank you to our police forces for their hard work.”

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